Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Joshua First

Relational Format



After the fall of the Soviet Union, the federal government permitted the regions and republics to obtain political autonomy, which led to a measure of self-governance during the 1990s and 2000s. The amount of political autonomy provided to the regions and republics was affected by the existence of a natural resource sector, and whether or not the republic or region in question had a nationalized ethnic minority. Natural resource sector data and federal and regional budgetary data was collected and analyzed from federal and regional government websites. Historical information on ethnic minorities as well as information on their anti-federal government protests were collected from Russian, European, and American newspapers. The republic with the longest-running natural resources sector and the largest and most anti-government ethnic minority received the most political autonomy and held it the longest. The region with the most financially successful natural resources but no nationalized ethnic minority received the least political autonomy. Regional political autonomy was affected by regional natural resource wealth, as the federal government heavily relied upon that wealth to fund the federal budget. The presence of a nationalized ethnic minority was successfully used as a tool by regional elites to obtain more political autonomy, although when the political autonomy system began to end they were unable to utilize that tool to keep their autonomy.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

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